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Have Gun, Will Travel, Volume 4 - 6 hours [Download] #RA692
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Have Gun, Will Travel
In the 1950s, it was fairly common for a long-running radio series to be adapted for television -- but it was practically unheard of for a successful TV series to make its way to radio. But, on November 23, 1958, that's exactly what happened when the CBS Television series
"Have Gun, Will Travel"
came to CBS Radio.
Created by Herb Meadow and Sam Rolfe, "Have Gun, Will Travel" was first aired on CBS-TV September 14, 1957 and starred Richard Boone as Paladin, a cultured, educated, and sophisticated man with an eye for the ladies, a taste for gourmet food, wine, and cigars, and enough skill, nerve, and well-oiled artillery to make him a top-notch gunfighter. Headquartered at the fashionable Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, Paladin had earlier attended West Point and was also a former Army officer, but now chose to finance his luxurious lifestyle by being a combination go-between, negotiator, and hired gun - a white knight, as it were - for those who needed such assistance. Unlike the more scruffy gunmen of the wild west, Paladin relied on his brains as much as his nerve -- and made his reputation by use of a distinctive business card that featured the symbol of a white chess knight and read, simply, "Have Gun, Will Travel. Wire Paladin, San Francisco." When one hired Paladin to do a job, he did it...for a sizeable fee, of course. Questions of morality did come into play - Paladin was, after all, intending to be more of a protector of the helpless than a murdering hit man - so, throughout the series, most who eventually came to face to face with the barrel of his custom-made six shooter had already done quite a lot to deserve their fate. (He also had the good sense to conceal a derringer under his belt, as well as a few expensive cigars in his boot. Classy guy.)
On radio, Paladin was played by John Dehner, a talented character actor who had made his name in featured roles on similar radio series such as "Gunsmoke" and "Frontier Gentleman." (Dehner, whose portrayal of Paladin was a bit more arch, suave, and sleek than his TV counterpart, had in fact earlier turned down the leading role of Sheriff Matt Dillon in "Gunsmoke" for fear of being typecast in western roles.) Dehner was understandably concerned about becoming nothing more than a pale copy of Richard Boone, and so insisted on making the role uniquely his own; radio historian John Dunning describes Dehner's portrayal as "a streamlined version, perhaps slighter of build...but just as deadly." The same smooth and slightly menacing voice that had made him such an effective villain on such series as "Escape" and "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe," made him an equally effective Paladin -- someone you might enjoy an intellectual discussion with over a glass of decent sherry, but also someone you wouldn't want to disagree with too aggressively for too long.
There were, of course, many similarities between the TV and radio series, particularly since many (though not all) of the radio scripts were based on earlier television episodes. Both programs used the same musical themes and bridges and relied much more upon dialogue and atmosphere than rip-roaring action to attract audiences. (Paladin, who was well versed in the classics, was frequently given to quoting Shakespeare and recalling obscure bits of history when considering the best way to deal with his various assignments.) On radio, "Have Gun, Will Travel" also benefited from the presence of "Gunsmoke" and "Fort Laramie" producer/director Norman Macdonnell as well as writers Marian Clark and Les Crutchfield, sound effects men Tom Hanley and Ray Kemper, and a host of talented performers such as Sam Edwards, Jack Moyles, Larry Dobkin, and Harry Bartell. The stories were rich with detail, realistic, and typical of the more adult types of western that had evolved in the 1950s; less shoot 'em up, more introspection.
"Have Gun, Will Travel" was one of the last continuing radio dramas to leave the airwaves, ending a two-year CBS run on November 27, 1960. (The TV series lasted a bit longer - six years in total - and closed up shop on September 21, 1963.) While it lasted, however, "Have Gun, Will Travel" demonstrated that, even with television capturing the largest audiences and the most advertising dollars, radio could still effectively hold its own when given the opportunity to present quality programming. Heard today, even those who have never experienced quality radio drama firsthand can enjoy the programs simply as effective and engrossing pieces of well-produced audio entertainment.
This collection, the fourth volume in our ongoing series, offers another twelve episodes of "Have Gun, Will Travel", just as originally aired over CBS Radio in 1959 and 1960. An extra bonus in the inclusion of all of the original commercials, providing an interesting snapshot of what radio advertising was like in the post-television days of network radio.
#53 Fair Fugitive
Sunday, November 22, 1959 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#55 Mistaken Identity
Sunday, December 6, 1959 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#56 Out of Evil
Sunday, December 13, 1959 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#57 Rance Carnival
Sunday, December 20, 1959 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#58 The Marriage
Sunday, December 27, 1959 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#59 Return Engagement
Sunday, January 3, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#60 The Lonely One
Sunday, January 10, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#61 French Leave
Sunday, January 17, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
Sunday, January 24, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#63 Bad Bert
Sunday, January 31, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#64 The Boss
Sunday, February 7, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
#65 Bring Him Back Alive
Sunday, February 14, 1960 - 25:00 - CBS, multiple sponsorship
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